Pennsylvania DUI Homicide Laws


When someone dies and the government thinks a DUI is the reason, the case becomes extreme. There are two major charges that the government can charge in these cases: Homicide by Vehicle while DUI, and PA DUI murder (murder in the third degree).

How long will it take for them to charge me if someone dies with my DUI?

Sometimes it can take months or over a year. Prosecutors and accident scene recinstructionists take a long time in coming to a charging decision. Do not wait. You need to get in front of this as much as possible. The court will sentence DUI causing death to years Orr decades depending. 

If you’ve been accused of causing the death of another person while driving under the influence, this is no doubt an incredibly stressful time for you. You have you been through a terrible trauma. Also you may be terrified of what’s going to happen next. The good news is you do not have to face this difficult time alone. The McShane Firm is here to help.

Pennsylvania DUI Homicide Laws

In a Homicide by Vehicle while DUI case, the government has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You were DUI.
  2. There was a death.
  3. The direct and proximate cause of that death was the DUI.

When selecting which attorney to hire, please consider:

  • Can you call anytime and talk to a live person?
  • Do they offer payment plans with no credit checks?
  • Will your attorney be attentive and explain what’s going on?

At The McShane Firm, we answer yes to all of these questions. We strive to provide you with a great customer service experience during this tough time.

Defenses to Homicide by Vehicle while DUI cases:

If we can break that causal chain, then the government loses their case. Your chances of going to jail decrease. The possibility of having a felony on your record is zero. Other factors outside of impairment that can cause accidents involving death include:

  • Texting while driving
  • Distractions in the car
  • Fatigue or sleepiness
  • Spilling something
  • poorly constructed sight lines
  • improperly graded roads
  • poor road conditions
  • poor weather conditions
  • the other driver not having their headlights or tail lights on at night
  • falling objects in the road
  • animals in the road
  • people in the road
  • the other driver being drunk or high
  • the other vehicle being unroadworthy
  • the person injured wearing all dark clothing on a rural road with no overhead lighting
  • the person injured walking in the road
  • other vehicle code infractions such as speeding
  • and the list goes on and on.

We’ve seen it all. That’s why you need an attorney like The McShane Firm who has extensive accident scene reconstruction training and has handled hundreds upon hundreds of these cases.

Pennsylvania Homicide by Vehicle while DUI Sentencing

When facing a DUI charge that involves the death of another person, you can be charged with the sentencing enhancement of Homicide. Sentencing enhancement is the technical term for the extra penalties the court can apply when an alleged DUI involves an accident, injury, or death. For DUI Homicide, these penalties are very severe.

In Pennsylvania, homicide is a  felony of the second degree. That carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail. So you can be charged with one count of homicide for each person whom the court can prove died due to your driving under the influence. If convicted, you will face a minimum of three years in jail, with a maximum of 10 years behind bars, for each person who lost their life. By law, if there are multiple deaths, the three year mandatory minimum is stacked or ordered to be served one right after the other.

DUI homicide cases and DUI murder cases require experienced counsel

Pennsylvania Murder DUI Laws

If you have a prior DUI in your background, the prosecution can charge you with DUI murder. Technically, it is a charge of Murder in the Third Degree. Murder in the third degree requires that the government prove that you killed another person and did so with malice. They do not have to prove it was premeditated or intentional. The government needs to prove more than negligence or recklessness and must disregard the threat posed to human life by the conduct undertaken. The government does this by trying to introduce your prior DUI. Specifically, they try to introduce the fact that you attended DUI Alcohol Safe Driving School and the DUI Victim Impact panel as proof that you knew that DUI kills, but you chose to do it any way.

What is The McShane Difference?

  • We take time to understand your personal needs and goals. Then we cater our legal strategy to fit you.
  • We care about you. We listen and return phone calls. We will take time to explain things so you are not left anxious in the dark.
  • We will make this as easy as possible. We will try to minimize the number of times you have to be in court which means less disruption of your work and family life.

Does this sound like what you are looking for in an attorney? If yes, then take the next step and call (717) 657-3900.

Pennsylvania Third Degree Murder DUI Sentencing

Murder in the Third degree has a maximum sentence of forty years. Even if you have a zero prior record score, the standard range sentencing for a conviction for DUI cases charged as third degree murder begin at 6 or 7 years or more.

We’re Here to Help

When facing such severe punishment, it’s easy to give up hope. But don’t plead guilty just yet. We can help.

The highly-trained DUI lawyers of The McShane Firm will provide you the unbiased representation you deserve and will do everything possible to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your case. The trial process and procedures surrounding a DUI Homicide or DUI murder case is very complicated. It is emotional. The aggressive DUI attorneys at The McShane Firm are experienced litigators with extensive courtroom experience and can make the trial process easier by standing up for you in court.

Emotions run high during DUI cases, and you can expect the State to work hard to convict you by calling several expert witnesses to prove your guilt and make the case that you deserve the harshest punishment the law allows.

An aggressive DUI lawyer from The McShane Firm can fight back, vigorously defending you against the charges. We employ a full team of experts, including accident re-constructionists and chemical test and substance abuse experts who will do everything in their power to provide you with the strongest defense possible. We have our own private detective on staff, and all of our attorneys have specialized DUI training equal or greater to that of Pennsylvania State Troopers. This unique combination of resources and training makes The McShane Firm your smartest choice.

Our Clients are entitled to a Bill of Rights which states:

  • Our clients have the right to expect, we will be proactive in communication. You will hear it from us first. We will return all phone calls, texts and emails promptly.
  • Our clients have the right to expect plain speaking, straight shooting. No B. S.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to do it right the first time, every time.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to be on time and professionally prepared for all court appearances, and all meetings.
  • Our clients have the right to expect that they will be fully informed at all times.

This is our promise to you. Call today to get us on your side: (717) 657-3900.

Get an attorney right now

As you can see, the penalties for DUI cases involving death are drastic. If you find yourself accused of a DUI murder 3 case or Homicide by Vehicle by DUI in Pennsylvania, the experienced DUI lawyers at The McShane Firm can help to minimize or eliminate the charges against you.

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